Italians Seek Buyer for Hellenic Train After Tempe Tragedy and Daniel Storm in 2023


In the wake of the accident in Tempe, it seems that the Italian FSI, known as Trenitalia, is looking to exit Greece. Potential buyers are already being discussed, ranging from domestic buyers and groups to railway organizations in Europe.

According to a report in the "Apogeumatini" newspaper, the Italians have sent subpar executives and trains to Greece so far, and they realize that it will take more time for their 2017 investment to pay off.

In September of that year, Trenitalia completed its purchase of Hellenic Train for 45 million euros. Then, in 2019, they acquired ESTY, a railway equipment maintenance company, for 22 million euros.

However, in 2023 came the tragedy of Tempe and the disasters caused by the severe weather event named Daniel. These incidents had severe consequences on the Italian company's plans. The Tempe accident particularly hit the company's income hard, as most tickets were sold on the Athens-Thessaloniki line.

Furthermore, the Italian company's image suffered a blow due to the negative treatment of Hellenic Train's managing director and veteran train driver, Maurizio Caporto, during the Commission of Inquiry.

In 2017, the Italians decided to invest in Greece despite the longstanding issues with the Greek railway. They believed that by offering low-priced tickets on central and less-traveled lines, they could compete with air transport. Trenitalia established a similar service to that in Rome, based on the principles of the Greek railway, and successfully brought in the revenue it had hoped for up until the Tempe tragedy occurred. Specifically, passenger transport revenue had doubled from 36.5 million euros in 2021 to 65 million euros.

Additionally, Trenitalia sold their subsidiary, including five ETR 470 trains like the Silver Arrow, for 47.5 million euros, recovering a large portion of their 2017 investment.

However, on February 28, 2023, a dark chapter was written in Greece's history and the Greek railway's history. Reports of near-miss accidents on the rail network and complaints about staff training problems have plagued Trenitalia's operations in Greece.

Consequently, the major challenge for the Italian group remains finding a buyer in order to exit Greece.

Copyright Greekcitytimes 2024